NFL launches help line for current, former players
Former New England Patriots linebacker Junior Seau committed suicide in May. He was 43.
July 28th, 2012
03:10 PM ET

NFL launches help line for current, former players

In the wake of the suicide of former New England Patriot and San Diego Charger Junior Seau, the National Football League launched the NFL Life Line this week. The Life Line is an around-the-clock crisis support line to help current and former players, as well as their families, in times of need.

In a letter to NFL personnel and fans announcing the program, Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote, “There is no higher priority for the National Football League than the health and wellness of our players.”

The phone line will be independently run from the NFL, and all calls will be kept confidential.

“It’s a relief that that’s going to be there,” said Shannon Jordan, president of Gridiron Greats, a program devoted to helping retired NFL players in need get financial and medical assistance.

As talk of mental health issues become more mainstream in the football community, Jordan is sure that more players will be willing to reach out for help.
“What’s happened in the past couple of years of these issues coming to the forefront and players talking and sharing, it only helps get rid of the stigma,” she said.

On the NFL’s Life Line website, a series of video messages from players including Michael Irvin and Brett Favre emphasize it’s OK to ask for help.

In one video, titled “To My Brothers,” Irvin says, “We have to share with one another.”

The NFL teamed up with national mental health organizations such as the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to implement the program.

Dr . Tim Lineberry, a psychiatrist with the Mayo Clinic and suicide prevention specialist, hopes the message will be felt beyond the football field. “The NFL is such a big part of American life,” he said. “I think it might have potential impact on others.”

Seau committed suicide in May. He was 43.

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Kandi

    Just announced....

    Dedicated help support line for firemen, cops, school teachers, animal care takers, auto mechanics, auto salespeople, welders, plumbers, bag boys, babysitters, backhoe operators, former presidents and congress, tramps, Trump look-a-likes, dog catchers, chicken thieves, cartoon artists, retired milkmen and their jealous wives, postmen that ring twice and a very special line for the NFL executives that approved the special line for the players.

    July 30, 2012 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Antonio

      I knew a woman that collected butterflies. She killed herself. Wonder if she would still be alive if there was a special help line for butterfly collectors.

      Her granddaughter was the heir to the butterfly collection! Will she kill herself without the support of a help line?

      July 30, 2012 at 08:23 | Report abuse |
    • Aguus

      I haven’t seen much out of Brown to indicate he’s clpabae of anything more than a backup role at the moment, but he does have his supporters. BLD’s own Matt Cooper is a staunch Brown advocate, naming him one of his 10 Playersa0Most Likely to Break Out in 2011.

      November 14, 2012 at 01:23 | Report abuse |
  2. Steve C.

    It's early Monday morning and I am looking for the news to read while having my 2 cups of coffee which is recommended by the infamous doctors. And I am reading this...is this real or am I still asleep and dreaming?

    July 30, 2012 at 08:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Richard

    “There is no higher priority for the National Football League than the health and wellness of our players.”

    That's such B.S. The issue of older players who retired decades ago and suffer serious mental and physical health problems was just swept under the rug in the latest bargaining between the union and the nfl. Instead of giving them health care and needed psychological help...they make a cheapass phone line. Shameful for a company that's making hundreds of millions off these player's legacies.

    July 30, 2012 at 08:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. wasserball

    "The phone line will be independently run from the NFL, and all calls will be kept confidential."

    Of course, there is no other way. Honestly, how is that going to hold water. Secrets become public information in no time. The guy who initially finds out is going to hold back from spreading rumors and news?

    July 30, 2012 at 08:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Matt

    Am I the only one that finds it funny that the picture is of Seau in a Chargers uniform but the caption talks about him as a Patriot?

    July 30, 2012 at 09:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. UnSub

    NFL Help Hotline, because millionaires need love too. Deciding on which Lamborghini they want can be tough.

    July 30, 2012 at 11:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Timmy Suckle

    I kissed my way up to VP at a health insurance company. Now I take over $500,000 of your health care dollars for NO VALUE ADDED to your health care. And that’s just me. Now think about how many other VPs, Directors, Managers, etc. are at my company alone. Now multiply that by thousands of others at hundreds of other health insurance companies. From 10 to 25% of your health care dollars go towards administration that adds NO VALUE to your health care. But my company’s PAC dollars will continue to fool you little people into thinking that a single payer system will be bad. Little people like you are so easy to fool. Little people also don’t realize that a single payer system is the ONLY system that would allow little people (as an entire country) to negotiate better health care prices. Little people don’t realize that the Medical Cartels already know that. And that is the reason why the Medical Cartels spend so much PAC money from the hospitals and doctors lobbying against a single payer system. Some little people say that a single payer system would cost you little people more. But if that were true, then wouldn’t the hospitals and doctors WANT that extra money? Yes they would. So why do the Medical Cartels lobby against a single payer system? It’s because the Medical Cartels know it would allow little people to negotiate better health care prices. And that’s what the Medical Cartels are afraid of. Period.
    But us big wigs at insurance companies, hospitals, and pharmacy companies don’t ever need to worry about health care no matter what it costs. We get our health care paid for one way or another by you little people. And we get the little people that work at our companies to contribute to our PACs. And us big wigs say it’s to protect the little peoples’ jobs. But in reality it would be in the little peoples’ best interest to NOT contribute to the PAC. Again, little people are so easy to be fooled. I won’t ever have to worry about losing my job with so many little people being brain washed by the Medical Cartels’ PAC money. Not only that, the Medical Cartels’ PAC money is used to elect so many republicans that will never allow a single payer system. Republicans have always fought against any meaningful health care reform. But that’s what our Medical Cartels’ PACs pay them for. Politicians can be bought so easily.
    Pretty soon the only people that will be able to afford health care is us big wigs. And that’s the way it should be. We don’t want you little people using up the resources when we need them. And once again, I thank you little people for capping my SS tax at the $106,800 level. Now I only pay 1.3% SS tax and you little people pay 6.2%. Also, thank you for extending my tax breaks. I’m using the extra money on my vacation houses.

    July 30, 2012 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tack

      Because if it's posted on the internet, it must be true.

      July 31, 2012 at 09:29 | Report abuse |
    • Hahahahahahahahahhaha

      Just replace Timmy Suckle with ANY insurance company executive of your choice and THEN it IS true!!!!!!!! Hahahahahahahaha

      July 31, 2012 at 10:12 | Report abuse |
  8. the99percentsolution

    There should be effective help lines for everybody. There are far too many suicides that are preventable. Mary Richardson Kennedy hanged herself in a barn since she despaired that she could get an equitable resolution from the court system. The lower court restricted her interaction with the children. Unfortunately, harsh and sometimes irrational decisions by the lower courts are not properly reviewed by appellate courts.

    July 30, 2012 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. schulp

    Oh yeah, wait. I Just work in x-ray. I don't need anything. Just the free 30 min. session – one time a year – they legally have to provide.

    July 30, 2012 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Jeff-n-SF

    This is long overdue.More should be done! First you have kids with no money being thrust into superstar money status without proper counseling. It is a recipe for disaster. Second does anyone do a thorough mental health screening on these kids or is so much focus on their bodies no one cares about their mind? Mental health is just as important if not more. In every major sport their should be mentorship and mandatory counseling programs. For the most part colleges and higher learning helps educate kids so they do not make these mistakes. We all know some places fast track kids and let things go when they are good in sports though.This allows kids with great talent and weak minds to slip through the cracks. Then they wind up in the NFL or NBA with milions of dollars and the inability to answer questions or sign their name. It would not be that hard to come up with a mental health program so young athletes learn how to manage money and deal with problems in their lives. You cannot put a bandaid on a stab wound without stiching first.

    July 30, 2012 at 20:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Dan

    What a joke................The NFL is spiralling out of control. Worried about teliing people the dangers of the violent sport! Did it just get violent, or did the players just get lamer??? If they need a group of people to tell them that getting your brain rattled around in your skull is bad for them, then they are dumber than I ever thought. This is why they get paid millions of dollars to play a game after all!!! The NFL is getting so rediculous it is almost funny to watch. Players have to aim for certain parts of the body while in mid air, or they may get a penatly or even worse a fine!! A fine for doing their job.......what a joke they have made out of the NFL. I am a huge football fan, but i do not think for much longer, it is a funny sport now. I hope the XFL comes back around, the NFL is just an entertainment anyway. Goodell has killed the NFL, plain and simple!! I could keep going, but in the end I am just repeating my ponit, only in different scenarios......the NFL (Not For Long) is a joke!

    July 31, 2012 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. STack

    Sometimes, I put toilet paper over my dick and pretend it's a ghost.

    July 31, 2012 at 14:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. mitchmonster

    Last Boy Scout...........

    July 31, 2012 at 18:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Julie

    This is a good start ~ and likely with more coming down the road, as the NFL begins making this help part of their program. Serious brain injuries are not laughable stuff ~ nor are they comparable to depression, etc., without the brain injuries. Depression in all its forms is a serious matter, though the added factor of brain matter that does not regenerate ~ as far as we know now ~ compounds the issue.

    Good luck to all players in the NFL ~ and all players all the way down to the elementary school level. Much needed safety regulations don't compromise the game ~ they just define the play ~ for all ages ~ in such a way that players can expect a long, healthy, productive life after they're finished playing. And everybody deserves that.

    With honor to Junior, from a Boston fan originally from Orange County. We loved you everywhere you played! Such a great and natural leader on the field!

    ~ Julie

    August 1, 2012 at 01:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Deepdiver

    This is such a PR stunt, it's not even funny. If they really cared about players, they would actually help the retired players with a decent retirement benefits package. They also would not lie about what they covered up knowing about concussions. They were putting players back into a game directly after receiving concussions until a few years ago and didn't even have trained medical staff evaluating concussions until a few years ago.

    August 1, 2012 at 09:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. integratedplay

    The Athletic Ph.D. http://fb.me/2asbHD7KV

    August 1, 2012 at 22:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Garret Alma

    Health and wellness should always be our priority since it is very costly if we get sick. Medical bills these days are quite enormous. "";,.

    Yours truly http://www.foodsupplementdigest.com/chlorella-benefits/

    August 8, 2012 at 01:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. ruby Hughes

    We need to know why he killed him self what could have need so wrong that it would have not got better true story

    December 3, 2012 at 02:59 | Report abuse | Reply
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